Everyone, and I mean everyone, likes a bargain. This is especially true amongst students on a budget. Looking good without dipping into your overdraft may seem hard, but as a seasoned bargain hunter, I assure you it can be done. The trick is to spend more on clothes that you wear often, like a good winter coat and boots, and spend less on trendy or seasonal items.
St Andrews is a great place to live for many reasons, including the nine charity shops this small town possesses. Along with the charity shops you can also find good deals at H&M and New Look, and the stock is always changing.
I have a few general tips for bargain hunting that help make the whole process more enjoyable and productive. Girls, don’t be afraid to browse in the Men’s section; boyfriend jumpers are practical as well as fashionable. Pay more attention to fit and quality than the label – if it doesn’t look nice, no one is going to care that it says Chanel on the inside. Always look at the sale rack, even if it’s not from the right season you can layer on a cardigan or add tights.
I went bargain hunting for you and here are some of my top picks, store by store:
Barnardos had a cosy looking grey maxi skirt for £3.99, which would go nicely with the black J Crew wool jumper for £3.29, and could be topped off with a Hermès-like scarf for £5.99. On the men’s side of the store there was a smart Hugo Boss Oxford shirt for £4.99.
There are two Cancer Research stores on South Street; make sure you check both so you don’t miss any bargains. I found a vintage women’s Shearling coat for £30, lots of men’s wool and cashmere jumpers at various prices, an animal print ASOS formal dress for £20, and my personal favourite; a navy blue women’s jumper in wool with a crest from a distant golf club for £10.
Oxfam had a rack of promising looking sheer and silk blouses for various prices. They also had a black Ted Baker playsuit, which could go from day to night with the right accessories, for £24.99.
In Shelter I found a large selection of well-preserved vintage; the star of this collection was an Aquascutum brown wool coat for £50. I also found an olive unisex Burberry raincoat for £20. If you don’t own a raincoat yet, or are in need of a new one I suggest you get this one before someone else does. Other standout items were a Lipsy sequin dress for £30, which was snatched up moments after I put it down, and a selection of cashmere men’s jumpers starting at £6.
Team up all of your new charity shop buys with the St Andrews favourites of New Look and H&M. I love H&M, but in such a small town you have to be careful what you buy as chances are five other people will have bought the same thing that day. That being said, one of my favourite items of the day was the faux fox fur stole with a fake fox face on it. I also found two python print dresses for under £20, which were very reminiscent of a Chloé dress from this season. H&M is a great place to shop for trends and usually has a range of items in the colour or shape of the season, as does New Look. In the small store they have a large selection of jewel tone tops and colour blocked dresses. The best thing I found in New Look were a pair of gold glitter t-bar platforms which are very reminiscent of this season’s ubiquitous Miu Mius. Unlike the Miu Mius, these shoes only cost £24.99; there are other styles available in glitter as well.
It isn’t hard to be fashionable on a student budget; all it takes is a bit of luck and an afternoon spent shopping. Looking unique in our small town is easy as well: combine your new purchases with the clothes you already own, and you’ll end up with an individual look that everyone else will want to copy.
Photography – Hannah Anderson